Hypopharyngeal carcinoma (staging)

Last revised by Dr Francis Deng on 05 Sep 2019

Hypopharyngeal carcinoma staging refers to TNM staging of carcinomas originating in the hypopharynx. This system most commonly applies to squamous cell carcinomas but can also apply to rarer epithelial malignancies in the region. The following article reflects the 8th edition published by the American Joint Committee on Cancer, which is used for staging starting January 1, 2018 1,2.

Regional nodal status is defined the same as for most other cancers of the head and neck. See the main article, cervical lymph node (staging).

The terms pM0 and MX are not valid TNM categories. The following categories may be used:

  • cM0: no evidence of metastases
  • cM1: distant metastasis
  • pM1: distant metastasis, microscopically confirmed

The prognostic stage groups are defined the same as for most other cancers of the head and neck:

  • Stage 0
    • Tis, N0, M0
  • Stage I
    • T1, N0, M0
  • Stage II
    • T2, N0, M0
  • Stage III
    • T3, N0, M0
    • [T1, T2, T3], N1, M0
  • Stage IVA
    • T4a, [N0, N1], M0
    • [T1, T2, T3, T4a], N2, M0
  • Stage IVB
    • [Any T], N3, M0
    • T4b, [Any N], M0
  • Stage IVC
    • [Any T], [Any N], M1

Since the 7th edition, the T3 criterion of esophageal invasion has been split into esophageal mucosa involvement (T3) and esophageal muscle (T4). Nodal staging has changed, as with other head and neck sites, to emphasize extranodal extension.

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